Olio is another small shop you'll find in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. They specialize in fresh olive oils and aged balsamic. In addition to this you find salt slabs for meat preparation, an assortment of local honey, salts, and cooking utensils and other instruments you may need to feel like a professional chef or at least look the part.
Walking pass Olio and only taking a cursory glance one would quickly assume that this is a wine shop. Olio even refers to their store as the tasting room. Not having an interest in being a Somerlie (professional wine taster) or in expensive wines that I probably can't afford I paid no attention for years. It was only after I became interested in taking photos of these small Shops that I walked in camera in hand.
So as I walked up I assumed I was going to see many different wine options many of which I would not know. Yet these bottles that can easily be seen from the sidewalk of course were not filled with wine, but instead contained vinegar and balsamic. Yes, I had entered a taste room of a different sort.
Within Olio you will see many of these silver canisters with nozzles and tiny paper cups nearby to of course use for tasting.
The chocolate flavored vinegar immediately grabbed my attention. I'm not crazy for chocolate as many people are, but I've never seen a chocolate flavored vinegar and of course this was the first one I tasted. For my palate it was just the right amount of chocolate. The point here is to get hint of flavor, if too much chocolate is involved then you might as well pour chocolate syrup over what your cooking.
Since my first visit to Olio I've used their products as ingredients in salmon, steak, and burger dishes.
If you're a fan of loose leaf tea and local honey you should also pay Olio a visit.
If you're interested in knowing more more about Olio you can find one of their locations on King Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia or visit them online at www.oliotastingroom.com.
Pay attention to my blog for more photos and stories of Old Town Alexandria's small shops. If you have a small shop or know of one that you'd like to share please do let me know about it. Feel free to comment on this story or through my contact page.